Are you a first time traveler planning to visit Africa on a safari? You need to arouse your feelings and know about the continent. One of the best ways to do that is to watch movies. The good thing is that, you know true stories have happened in Africa and the movies are hands on experience. It is especially so with a range of both sad and entertaining stories; from gorillas in jungles or lions in the savannah to the civil conflicts, poverty and living conditions.

Below is my favorite list of movies. As a matter of ethical admission, I have watched some of these movies, whether that makes me biased or simply more conversant is up to your judgment.

Gorillas in the Mist

This movie is about the achievements and struggles that Dian Fossey undertook to save and conserve the mountain gorillas in the Virunga massifs of Rwanda and DR Congo. The movie starling Sigourney Weaver tells how, where and why Fossey dedicated her life to conserve gorillas.

Explaining the threats to extinction of gorillas that makes Fossey a true warrior, primatologist and conservationist. Due to poaching, habitat loss, human diseases and conflicts, gorilla numbers were reducing which attracted Dian Fossey to study gorillas. In her first book “gorillas in the mist” she shared her findings and inspired the international community to introduce gorilla tourism. It is an interesting story along with the current gorilla trekking, the life changing wildlife experience which is on top of many travelers’ bucket list adventures. You would as well to know the story behind gorilla conservation while planning a gorilla safari to Africa.

Hotel Rwanda  

Rwanda is now as a premier eco-tourism and MICE destination with Kigali being the cleanest city in Africa. Yet 20 years ago a genocide happened in1994 involving Hutus against Tutsi in which nearly a million people died in only 100 days.

It is a compelling story to know why some people survived and other perished. With testimonies from the people, who survived the massacres, it is believable that over one thousand, two hundred sixty eight people took refuge in the hotel, also known as Hotel Des Milles Collines.

As strange as it may sound, Paul Resesabagina’s true story who took control and actually went on to bribe the militias. How refuges in the hotel were protected safely still triggers thoughts and fear that you have to deal with after watching this movie.

Virunga the movie

Virunga is an award winning documentary. Any traveler planning visit DRC on a safari but still doubts about insecurity situations, should watch this movie.

This movie documentary details the exciting, real and very true stories of rangers and conservationists getting entangled in civil conflict as they work to save the population of mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park, Eastern DR Congo.

But it was strange for rangers getting caught in war as armed rebel groups invaded the park for its resources which turned into a civil war. As rangers of fortune, there would be no substitute for mountain gorillas if it wasn’t a sacrifice for one’s life. Happily, this documentary shows off current conservation efforts as the gorilla numbers are increasing and improved security attracting many travelers who undertake gorilla trekking safaris.

Queen of Katwe

Covering one often overlooked aspect of games Chess, a young Ugandan lady avoids misery that many people tend to live when born in poor families. It seems the only way for her to get out of poverty is becoming a chess champion. As her success comes from hard work, another girl from the same family emerge to compete, their coach and mother understand how it is not easy trying to raise an embattled family together.

Some of the scenes in the movie were shoot in Katwe one of the suburbs of Kampala the capital city of Uganda. It really has tales of Ugandan local lifestyles; want to know more about local living and lifestyles of Ugandans. watch this movie as you plan a trip to the pearl of Africa.

Last King of Scotland

The movie documents about the new leadership of president Idi Amin during 1970’s in Uganda and the political winds that blew in a direction of uncertainty.  Based on a novel by Giles Foden, it enlightens the story of a Scottish doctor James McAvoy who gets close to Amin but simply ignores the rumors of harsh rule and human right abuses.

The terrified doctor tries an abortion on Idi Amin’s wife gets to know about his hanging and that of French hostages at Entebbe airport. This kicks in a fear that a young man couldn’t keep to himself but to let the world know about the gruesome dictatorship of Idi Amin by the character of Forest Whitaker.

You have heard rumors about the dictator Amin, the moment you arrive or chat with an elder which is hard to know fact from fiction. Better watch this movie and retrace what really happened to the pearl of Africa Uganda.

The Lion King

Any traveler planning to visit East Africa, Kenya, should watch the lion king. You need to familiarize with their Swahili cultural references to wildlife. “Simba” which is lion is a club that can’t wait to be a king sings along with “Rafiki” which means a friend and “poomba” warthog. Perhaps use them as you spot wildlife out there in the wilderness. You not only learn to be at par with Kenyans but the charming music and choreography will just mark the beginning of your adventure in East Africa-Kenya.

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